Thursday, July 5, 2012

My favorite Summer Salads

"A great way to serve tomato mozzarella salad. Great presentation. Always a hit. You can find the bite-sized mozzarella at most supermarkets. If they are on the larger side, cut them in half."

20 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
20 fresh basil leaves
20 small balls fresh mozzarella cheese
(often labeled bocconcini)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
20 toothpicks

1. Using a toothpick, spear a half of a tomato, a piece of basil, a mozzarella ball, and another half of a tomato. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the vinegar and oil together in a small bowl to serve as a dipping sauce.

Pasta Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
My mom found this recipe in Taste of Home magazine in 2002.  This was one of our most requested dishes at my restaurant and one of our most catered salads.  I usually make a double batch of dressing and then add some more after the salad has been refrigerated for a few hours.  The pasta will soak up a lot of the dressing, and we love this poppy seed dressing.  The leftover dressing will stay good in the fridge for at least a week or more!  

1 package (16 ounces) bow tie or small tube pasta
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green onion, chopped
  • Pasta Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (continued)
    3 of 4

    Ingredients (continued)
    1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup vegetable oil
    4 teaspoons poppy seeds

    Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse with cold water
    and drain. Place in a large bowl; add cheese, broccoli, carrots,
    cucumber, tomatoes and onions. In a blender, combine vinegar,
    sugar, garlic, onion, mustard and salt; gradually add oil, blending
    until smooth. Add poppy seeds. Pour over pasta mixture and toss.
    Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Yield: 16-18 servings.

Grandma's Potato Salad

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

6-8  red potatoes cleaned and any black places cut out
¾ - 1 cup real mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped  (cook one extra for garnish)
2 tsp celery salt
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup finely chopped sweet pickles
1 small jar diced pimento
Spanish paprika, egg, olive and green pepper for garnish if desired.

1. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender.  Drain the potatoes and set aside. Cool and then peel and dice into bite sized pieces.

3. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar and  and celery salt and whisk to combine.

4. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, pickles onion . Pour the dressing over the ingredients and gently stir to evenly coat. Gently fold in pimento.  Cut egg into 4 wedges for garnish and place on top of salad in a decorative fashion ( Like a flower)Cut an olive in half and put in the middle for the eye of the flower.  Take a strip of bell pepper and cut a stem and two shorter stems for the side! Sprinkle with paprika.

5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.


3 cans shoepeg corn (drained well)
3 med. firm tomatoes
1 med. bell pepper
2 bunches green onions
1 medium cucumber- peeled and diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup  mayonnaise
Garnish with sprig of dill or basil leaf
Dice tomatoes, bell pepper cucumber and onions. Drain corn very well. Place all
ingredients in large salad bowl. Mix well. Place in refrigerator for at least 4
hours. Best if left overnight.

Brie and Fruit in Phyllo Cups

  • 1 large wedge of brie cheese (or the standard size round)
  • 1 fresh pear
  • 1 pkg. phyllo cups
  • Other fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries) for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Chop the brie cheese into pieces.

Cut the pear away from its core. Cut it into 6 or 8 pieces and put it into your mini food processor. Chop it with the food processor into small pieces. (You could do it by hand with a knife, if you prefer.) 

Mix the pear and brie together. Stuff the filling into the phyllo cups.

Place the stuffed phyllo cups on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese melts. Top with fruit pieces for garnish.

It is best to add the fruit for garnish after you have baked this dessert. Adding the fruit before makes it too mushy.

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